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Spring 2012
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Around the Quad

How to Foil Picky Eaters


A recent study led by Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing in in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, identified what kids find visually appealing on a plate of food, information parents can use to coax picky eaters into nutritious meals. Preteen children and adults were shown photos of 48 different combinations plated food that varied by the number of items, placement of entrée and organization. Children preferred entrees at the front of the plate in figurative designs—such as smiley faces or hearts—with seven different items and six colors, whereas adults preferred only three items and three colors.

How to Foil Diets

New Cornell research shows that variety may be the spice of life, but it can also induce eaters to pack on the pounds. In the study led by David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences, participants were served the same foods prepared either individually or in a stir-fry (onions, corn, carrots, peas and broccoli) or a pasta dish (onions, celery, tomatoes, penne pasta and cauliflower). Participants ate significantly more calories when the foods were served separately versus as a “one-pot” dish. The study contributes to the growing body of research that illustrates that the mealtime environment influences how much we eat.